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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

of that winter, and I like to remember myself walking
over one afternoon to consult Captain Huxtable about
a commission in an infantry regiment. Captain Hux-
table, who had always shown an almost avuncular
concern for my career, had joined the Army in 1860.
He was a brisk, freckled, God-fearing, cheerful little
man, and although he was now over seventy, he
didn't seem to have altered in appearance since I
was a child. He was a wonderful man for his age.
Chairman of the local bench, churchwarden, fond of
a day's shooting with Squire Maundle, comfortably
occupied with a moderate sized farm overlooking the
Weald, he was a pattern of neighbourly qualities, and
there was no one with whom Aunt Evelyn more
enjoyed a good gossip. Time-honoured jokes passed
between them, and his manner toward her was jovial,
spruce, and gallant. He was a neat skater, and his
compact homespun figure seemed to find its most
appropriate setting when the ponds froze and he was
cutting his neat curves on. the hard, ringing surface;
his apple-cheeked countenance, too, had a sort of
blithe good humour which seemed in keeping with
fine frosty weather. He was a man who knew a good
Stilton cheese and preferred it over ripe. His shrewd
and watchful eyes had stocked his mind with accurate
knowledge of the countryside. He was, as he said
himself, "addicted to observing the habits of a rook3',
and he was also a keen gardener.

Captain Huxtable was therefore an epitome of all
that was most pleasant and homely in the countrified
life for which I was proposing to risk my own. And
so, though neither of us was aware of it, there was a
grimly jocular element in the fact that it was to him
that I turned for assistance. It may be inferred that
he had no wish that I should be killed, and that he